The Ultimate Guide to the Epsom Derby Festival

image of horses racing to illustrate the Epsom Derby Festival

Epsom Derby Festival, the richest race in the flat racing calendar is only a month away, and people are already preparing for a big weekend of celebrations. Whether you’re planning on having a flutter, hoping to watch the derby on TV, or actually heading to the festival, reading up on the event’s history will only increase your enjoyment further. 

We’ve created this guide to give you all the information you could need to enjoy this prestigious race weekend to the fullest. 

Fascinating Facts About the Epsom Festival

Without a doubt, the most appealing fact for trainers and owners is the prize money on offer over the course of the weekend. The Epsom Derby alone offers a prize pool of £1.5 million, the most generous in the flat racing calendar. 

Whilst the Epsom Derby is the most anticipated race of the Epsom Festival Weekend, the Betfred Oaks and the Dahlbury Coronation Cup are two more Group 1 races, also running as part of the festival. Having so many high quality races in one weekend is another reason that such a number of fans flock to the event.


The race was the first outdoor sporting event ever to be televised on British TV, with its first appearance on air taking place at the 1931 festival. The race is still popular with TV viewers and in-person spectators alike to this day and draws in one of the biggest crowds of any horse racing event.

The final feather in the Epsom Derby’s hat is that it was the first horse race to be known as a Derby. It was called the Epsom Derby after the Earl of Derby, but now there are races all around the globe named after it. The Kentucky Derby and the Florida Derby are two very famous examples.

Useful Betting Tips

For many, part of the fun of a day at the races is placing a bet on a horse they think is most likely to win. 

There are all kinds of strategies for picking a winner, but the best way to ensure that your bankroll stays buoyant is by making use of horse racing free bets. Plenty of offers are available for the festival, and using one means you won’t have to spend money to enjoy a flutter. 

In terms of horses likely to shine over the weekend, there is one short-priced favourite who already stands out for the big race. Auguste Rodin is an impressive colt, having won three of his four starts so far this season. 

His last outing in the Vertem Futurity Trophy showed any doubters that he was a top-class horse. He cantered home to win by three and a half lengths over Epictetus, which is certainly impressive in Group 1 company at his age.

Tips for Lucky Race-Goers

If you’re fortunate enough to be heading to Epsom for the race weekend, then a little forward planning will go a long way. Roads around Epsom can be incredibly busy, so it will pay off to take public transport if you can. There are direct trains from Victoria Station in London that take just 40 minutes and will save you from queuing in traffic. 

In addition, planning for inclement weather is never a bad idea on any race day in the British calendar. Everybody knows that British weather can be changeable, and while the first Saturday in June ought to be sunny, there have been Epsom festivals that have been total wash-outs. By all means, wear your most beautiful summer dress and heels, but bring a lightweight waterproof, an umbrella, and some turf stoppers to save ruining your heels. 

Of course, if you get lucky with the weather, packing some sun protection, such as a hat, lotion, and sunglasses, is a must.

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